Focusing on CRM in 2012 means taking changes in behaviour into account: customers and businesses adapt to technology just as they do to the economic context.

In 2012 ISDs will definitely be focusing on CRM. Customer relations management has proven to be essential for all businesses at a time when the media have been continually headlining the crisis, first in 2008 and then again since mid-2011.  Despite everything IT is still dynamic and IDC is highlighting the importance of CRM and analysis applications in their 2012 forecasts.

Therefore we are witnessing two fundamental trends. First of all, customers are being “emancipated” as new technology has given them access to a high level of independence over the last few years; and secondly a “crisis” context which is affecting both customer expectations, company opportunities, company organisation and finally how they interact with each other.

Technological development has changed some of the issues. From a customer perspective, communities, opinions and sharing has never been as readily accessible, mainly due to the social networks. These grass-roots exchanges are making companies look at monitoring their e-reputation more closely and assess the need to participate themselves in social networks (though how to do that effectively is another matter) or risk being frozen out of the discussion. A company needs a managed approach to make effective use of what is generally called Social CRM.

Self-care” is another noteworthy symptom. Nowadays there are a large number of automated systems which customers can use to solve problems themselves. FAQs and voice servers are widely used. However they cannot replace any relational expectations that a customer may have. Laurence Vernier-Palliez, Director of Clienteam says in Les Echos that these two aspects are a “revolution”: a “boon for the customer and a headache for most businesses”.